Greenlaw Mill Progress Stalls
Taylor Wimpey and Midlothian Council fail to reach an agreement after one year
Exactly one year since contractors first fenced off brownfield land north of Greenlaw Mains, discussions between Taylor Wimpey and Midlothian Council have stalled, putting the future of the development in doubt.
On August 18 2013, residents bordering the site of Taylor Wimpey’s Greenlaw Mill development were left bewildered after six feet tall security fencing panels were erected behind their homes with no prior notice. The move, which was promptly followed by the arrival of JCB land clearing machinery, was heralded by Taylor Wimpey as being the start of preparatory works, however the council had a very different view and asked that all works were stopped pending the issuance of the proper licenses. This was the start of a fraught relationship between Wimpey and Council, which to this day, has yielded no results.
In the latest update from a Midlothian Council spokesperson, they said:
The council continues to progress discussions with Taylor Wimpey on the proposed section 75 agreement however, due to Taylor Wimpey’s right to commercial confidentiality, no further information can be provided at present.
No expected completion date has been issued by the council this month, despite efforts to provide one in both June and May. This lack of further information is deemed to be down to a continuing stalemate in signing a section 75 legal agreement. A section 75 legal agreement must be signed by both parties (the developer and the council) when contributions are required from the developer. In this case Wimpey must contribute towards the local education provision and the infrastructure surrounding the site. A roundabout must be created from Mauricewood Road onto the A702 and a T-Junction onto the busy A701 must be signalised. Both of these costs will be included in the agreement.
There are concerns however as to what is causing the delay and whether this delay could deter Wimpey from proceeding with the construction of the crucial 458 dwellings. The delay may be due to disagreements over the contributions towards the planned A701 road realignment, with the council asking for donations from every developer planning to build within the A701 corridor. The benefit to Penicuik is unclear and Wimpey may be hesitant to contribute the thousands of pounds extra to the council. Elsewhere the developer may be wanting a reduction in the number of social dwellings planned for the centre of the site, however this too is unconfirmed.
Should the plans for Greenlaw Mill be abandoned, the future of the secondary schooling provision in the town will again be thrown into turmoil. Failing the commencement of works, Beeslack CHS’s annual yearly intake will continue to fall by 50 pupils per year, due to changes to the catchment areas in the town. These changes will take effect from 2015 and, even with rapid house building in the area, a sufficient increase in the secondary school roles at the two local high schools will not be recorded until 2020.
There is some good news though as Cala Homes, and a consortium of other house builders, are expected to submit applications for north west Penicuik imminently. Midlothian Council have also started constructing new social housing on several sites throughout the town, with competition set for March next year.
What’s your view? Are you ready for the local housing boom or is the idea of more housing implausible? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively you may send us a letter by emailing Hello@PenicuikCuckoo.co.uk